Let's just say when I first came across this recipe for Black Magic Peanut Butter from Chocolate Covered Katie, there was such little chance in my mind that on my first bite, I'd enjoy it. I decided a long time ago that the taste of blackstrap molasses wasn't for me but the more I was reading about it, the more keen I became on finding a way to enjoy it. So I made her recipe. And it was good. Super good. Which then got me straight to thinking on how I could perhaps make it even better in terms of nutrition and whizzed up my own version straight away. I asked my daughter what she thought and got those magical words every parent loves to hear...
"Yum. Hey mum, can I have some more?"
But first, let's go back a step.
What are Blackstrap Molasses?
Molasses itself are a byproduct of making sugar and is a brown syrup left after boiling once the crystals have been removed. Light molasses is what you get after the sugar cane is first boiled, and dark molasses the second. Blackstrap molasses is the syrup product after the third (and last) boiling hence it is is concentrated so very dark and thick, but also contains the highest vitamin and mineral content. It's best to purchase "unsulphured" meaning no Sulphur Dioxide was added as a preservative to prevent fermentation.
Let's just be polite and say that refined sugar isn't known for it's remarkable wellness boosting qualities, but it's a totally different story for blackstrap molasses.
Why so mineral dense? Well, sugar cane roots grow quite deep into the soil to extract nutrients so by the time we've boiled it three times, we've got quite an impressive punch for something relatively cheap and easy to buy (and I love it doesn't come in a pill). I asked a group of awesome health peeps I know, and apparently it's been a known health food for both humans and animals for ages. One said "My nana always had a tablespoon of molasses every day for her life, she died at 95. I can count on one hand the number of times she was ever sick, that includes the times before I was born" and heaps said they used it as a way to boost iron stores while pregnant! According to Dr Josh Axe, 100 grams of blackstrap molasses contains 55g of sugar but also 0.7mg Vit B6 (34% DV), 1.5mg manganese (77% DV), 242mg magnesium (61% DV), 1,464 mg potassium (42% DV), 4.7mg iron (26% DV), 17mcg selenium (25% DV), 0.5mg copper (24% DV) and 205mg calcium (20% DV). That's pretty impressive especially when you consider the role that mineral deficiencies and poor digestion play in the modern lifestyle. In fact, it's so rich in potassium that you can't actually eat too much or you'll be at risk of something called hyperkalemia.
The potential benefits of blackstrap molasses are numerous thanks to all those minerals! Here are a selection:
Balancing stress hormones.
Acts as a gentle laxative.
Regulate blood sugars.
Promote healthy skin and hair.
Reduce hair loss.
Ease painful periods and PMS.
Helps with arthritis.
Sweeten coffee and tea.
Mix with milk of your choice as a warming morning tonic.
Prevent iron-deficient anemia.
Combats stress and possibly even adrenal fatigue.
Natural wound healer.
Improves bone health.
Supports a healthy cardiovasular system.
Improves sexual health (thanks manganese!)
Maintains a healthy nervous system.
Alternative sweetener in baking.
Reverse grey hair.
The problem is that not everyone enjoys the liquorice taste and it's still quite high in sugar. I did give it to my daughter straight off the spoon during her gut healing days as a toddler, and she enjoyed it, but we fell out of the habit some time back. The recipe below however has changed all that! She begs for it now.
My Magical Mineral Spread Recipe
For those who don't know, I'm a Holistic Health Coach with a special interest in helping families thrive, especially those dealing with eczema or other symptoms of allergies/intolerances. Because I lived that journey with my own daughter, I saw first hand how the conventional system worked. My view is that it doesn’t necessarily give us the entire picture of what's happening and often focuses on symptom management rather than supporting the body to resolve symptoms from the inside out - which is where I try to focus. My goal is to help people connect the dots, and I am a huge advocate for wholefoods especially those rich in nutrients and that our body can easily digest. Good food shouldn't feel like a punishment so I'm hugely excited to bring you this recipe which every single person in the Lishman family loved (disclaimer, we're a sample size of three) but I'm confident you'll love it too.
Half cup of crunchy peanut butter
3.5 tablespoons blackstrap molasses (preferably organic)
3.5 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, liquid
Place all ingredients in a small bowl, and stir together until fully mixed. Eat straight off the spoon (I'd have a tablespoon a day which gives you about a teaspoon of BSM) or use as a spread. Storing in fridge gives it a more fudgey texture!
My daughter and I have been having a spoon stirred into some gently warmed raw milk in the mornings. Coconut/almond milks would be a great plant based alternative!
Variation: you can use any nut or seed butter in place of peanut butter - I haven't tried though so can't say which is best! And the coconut oil is optional although I'm considering trying cacao butter next time and freezing into little 'medicinal treat bombs'. Try it and let me know what you think. Be warned, it's super delicious and filling but still quite high in sugars. A little bit goes a long way, so remember to listen to your body to say when!
Overall, it's great to see traditional food remedies like blackstrap molasses make a comeback and I'll definitely be looking to add it to more recipes to see if I can find delicious and fun ways to incorporate these nutrients into our lifestyle.
(This is the original photo from Chocolate Covered Katie! I forgot to take a pretty shot of mine. When I make this again, I'll replace it!)